Revised Intro to “Dragon”
- 8 min read -
A low rasping moan echoed through the dark dank entombed ruins causing sleeping bat wings to flutter as well as small rodents and thousand-footed insects to scatter back into holes for safety. No light had reached this place in a millennium and no living soul had entered in at least a quarter as many years. And yet, as frequently happened, the rhythmic sound of shambling footsteps paired with the dragging of wood on stone began to rise in the darkness. Even though the cave dwellers that lived in the pitch black of the ruins could not see, they recognized the smell of death and could hear its scuffling progression as it passed them by in their hidden burrows.
They waited, as those that survived over the years had learned to do, until the sounds faded into the distance until even the occasional rasping moan could not be heard. Only then did the normal sounds of the underground return.
One small rodent scampered out to sniff out the path of the creature in search of any morsels to eat. In a short time, it finally patted out far enough to discover a bit of dried flesh. If anyone could have seen in the darkness, it was obvious that with a twitch of its nose and a turn of its head, the discovery was not pleasant at all. It scampered a good distance away from the droppings and came to a quick stop.
The rodent lifted his chin up and its ears rotated hearing something unusual. It scampered quickly away just as part of the ceiling collapsed with a cascade of water, rain, dirt, rocks, wood, and a flailing body that was screaming as it fell some twenty feet down into the ruins.
The screaming stopped as it hit the ground with a muffled thud.
“Kaelyn! Are you okay?” a panicked voice called down from a gaping hole where the first light in ages came flooding down onto Kaelyn’s motionless body. “Hold on, cousin! We’re coming down!”
Up above, one of two young Elves hurriedly unpacked a rope.
“Over here!” Paddy yelled at her younger brother and waved for him to toss the rope to her.
Terrell quickly spooled out a few feet of rope and tossed it to his sister, “Here!”
While Paddy tied off the rope to a nearby tree, Terrell created a loop on the other end, “I’ll have this ready in a second and you can go in after him. You’re lighter than me and faster.”
Paddy wasn’t about to disagree. As she finished tying off the rope, she rushed over to the hole grabbing the other end as Terrell tossed it to her and began securing it around her waist and upper thighs.
A moan from down below caught their attention and they both relaxed a bit and laughed. “We’re coming for ya cousin,” Terrell joked and winked to his sister. “He’ll be alright.”
Paddy smiled, but still seemed concerned, “Hopefully nothing broken. And we don’t know what’s down there,” she sniffed the air and crinkled up her nose as finished with the rope. “Smells old. And something is rotten.”
“I’ll make sure I’ve got something to help him before I come down,” He said patting his satchel. “You ready?”
Paddy smiled, winked, and said, “See ya below, brother!” and she stepped backward and fell into the darkness below.
© 2015-2022 by Eric Huber
Header artwork by Sean Wong
Black dragon by Eric Huber. Inks by Chad Maupin.
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